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    In 2014, the ECJ was presented with a preliminary reference from the District Court in Kolding on the matter of whether EU law provides protection against discrimination on grounds of obesity with regard to employment and occupation. Following the ECJ’s ruling, first the District Court and later the High Court found that an employee’s obesity as such did not constitute a disability within the meaning of Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation since his obesity had not constituted a limitation or inconvenience in the performance of his job.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding.

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius university.
Case Reports

2021/4 Budget considerations can justify indirect discrimination (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Discrimination General, Age Discrimination
Authors Carolyn Soakell
AbstractAuthor's information

    If an employer has a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and the employer’s aim is no more than saving money, the Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can potentially be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.


Carolyn Soakell
Carolyn Soakell is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Rulings

ECJ 21 January 2021, C-843/19 (INSS), Gender Discrimination, Pension

Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS) – v – BT

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Gender Discrimination, Pension
Abstract

    Requiring a minimum pension amount for allowing early retirement is not contrary to Article 4(1) of Directive 79/7 even if it puts female workers at a particular disadvantage, provided that this is justified by legitimate reasons of social policy which are not related to gender discrimination.

Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Pending Cases

Case C-625/20, Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination

KM – v – Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS), reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Social n.º 26 de Barcelona (Spain) on 19 November 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination
Article

Access_open Big Data Ethics: A Life Cycle Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2021
Keywords big data, big data analysis, data life cycle, ethics, AI
Authors Simon Vydra, Andrei Poama, Sarah Giest e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The adoption of big data analysis in the legal domain is a recent but growing trend that highlights ethical concerns not just with big data analysis, as such, but also with its deployment in the legal domain. This article systematically analyses five big data use cases from the legal domain utilising a pluralistic and pragmatic mode of ethical reasoning. In each case we analyse what happens with data from its creation to its eventual archival or deletion, for which we utilise the concept of ‘data life cycle’. Despite the exploratory nature of this article and some limitations of our approach, the systematic summary we deliver depicts the five cases in detail, reinforces the idea that ethically significant issues exist across the entire big data life cycle, and facilitates understanding of how various ethical considerations interact with one another throughout the big data life cycle. Furthermore, owing to its pragmatic and pluralist nature, the approach is potentially useful for practitioners aiming to interrogate big data use cases.


Simon Vydra
Simon Vydra is a Researcher at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Andrei Poama
Andrei Poama is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Sarah Giest
Sarah Giest is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Alex Ingrams
Alex Ingrams is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Bram Klievink
Bram Klievink is Professor of Digitization and Public Policy at the Institute for Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Article

Comments and Content from Virtual International Online Dispute Resolution Forum

1-2 March 2021, Hosted by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Authors David Allen Larson, Noam Ebner, Jan Martinez e.a.
Abstract

    For the past 20 years, NCTDR has hosted a series of ODR Forums in locations around the world. For 2021, the Forum was held virtually, with live presentation over a web video platform, and recorded presentations available to participants. A full recording of the sessions can be found through http://odr.info/2021-virtual-odr-forum-now-live/. The following items are narrative notes from some of the presentations:

    • David Allen Larson – ODR Accessibility

    • Noam Ebner – Human Touch

    • Jan Martinez & Amy Schmitz – ODR and Innovation

    • Frank Fowlie – Online Sport Dispute Resolution

    • Larry Bridgesmith – AI Introductory Notes

    • Julie Sobowale – AI and Systemic Bias

    • Clare Fowler – DEODRISE

    • Michael Wolf – ODR 2.0 System Design

    • Chris Draper – Algorithmic ODR

    • Zbynek Loebl – Open ODR


David Allen Larson

Noam Ebner

Jan Martinez

Amy Schmitz

Frank Fowlie

Larry Bridgesmith

Julie Sobowale

Clare Fowler

Michael Wolf

Chris Draper

Zbynek Loebl
Article

Access_open Bits and Bytes and Apps – Oh My!

Scary Things in the ODR Forest

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Keywords access to justice, digital divide, Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, Online Dispute Resolution
Authors Daniel Rainey and Larry Bridgesmith
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses three issues related to online dispute resolution (ODR) that offer promise, and may carry risks for those who develop, provide, and use technology to address disputes and confects. The authors offer some principles to guide the use of technology, and some predictions about the future of ODR.


Daniel Rainey
A version of this article will be published in Portuguese as a chapter in Processo Civil e Tecnologia: os impactos da virada tecnologia no mundo, Dierle Nunes, Paulo Lucon and Isadora Werneck, eds., Editora Juspodivm, Salvador/BA–Brazil, forthcoming 2021. Daniel Rainey is, among other things, a principal in Holistic Solutions, Inc., a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR), a founding Board Member of the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR), Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution (IJODR) and a Member of the Self-Represented Litigants Committee of the Access to Justice Commission of the Virginia Supreme Court.

Larry Bridgesmith
Larry Bridgesmith is, among other things, a practicing lawyer, professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School and co-founder of its Program on Law & Innovation, a Fellow of the International Association of Mediators, co-founder of LegalAlignment LLC, AccelerateInsite LLC and Lifefilz Inc., co-founder of the International Institute of Legal Project Management and Chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission.
Article

Sustained restorative dialogue: exploring a proactive restorative process to help address campus sexual harm

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords restorative justice, restorative dialogue, campus sexual violence, sexual harm, sociolinguistics
Authors Amy Giles-Mitson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Campus sexual harm is a widespread problem that demands approaches that focus on prevention, alongside those that respond to specific incidents of harm. This article presents the outcomes of a proactive initiative – a sustained restorative dialogue – that uses restorative circle practice in the university setting to better understand the issue of sexual harm, and identify practical steps that focus on its reduction. Speech data from post hoc interviews with participants of the dialogue is analysed in order to demonstrate the outcomes of the process, and highlight the value of using a dialogic model to address the issue on campus. Findings suggest that the process has very real potential for enhancing understanding and awareness and increasing communication on the topic, these being important precursors to transforming the cultural norms and campus climates that foster sexual harm.


Amy Giles-Mitson
Amy Giles-Mitson, PhD, is a researcher in linguistics and restorative justice at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Contact author: Amy Giles-Mitson at amyjo_gm@yahoo.com.
Article

Access_open The Role of the Vienna Rules in the Interpretation of the ECHR A Normative Basis or a Source of Inspiration?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2021
Keywords European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, techniques of interpretation, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Authors Eszter Polgári
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interpretive techniques applied by the European Court of Human Rights are instrumental in filling the vaguely formulated rights-provisions with progressive content, and their use provoked widespread criticism. The article argues that despite the scarcity of explicit references to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, all the ECtHR’s methods and doctrines of interpretation have basis in the VCLT, and the ECtHR has not developed a competing framework. The Vienna rules are flexible enough to accommodate the interpretive rules developed in the ECHR jurisprudence, although effectiveness and evolutive interpretation is favoured – due to the unique nature of Convention – over the more traditional means of interpretation, such as textualism. Applying the VCLT as a normative framework offers unique ways of reconceptualising some of the much-contested means of interpretation in order to increase the legitimacy of the ECtHR.


Eszter Polgári
Eszter Polgári, PhD, is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Studies of the Central European University in Austria.
Rulings

ECJ 19 November 2020, Case C-93/19 P (EEAS – v – Hebberecht), Gender Discrimination, Miscellaneous

European External Action Service (EEAS) – v – Chantal Hebberecht, EU case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Gender Discrimination, Miscellaneous
Abstract

    In its consideration of Ms Hebberecht’s request to extend her posting, EEAS could not exclude equal treatment aspects from the consideration on grounds that they were not deemed relevant in the interests of the service.

Pending Cases

Case C-389/20, Gender Discrimination

CJ – v – Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social, reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo n.º 2 de Vigo (Spain) \ on 14 August 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Gender Discrimination

    Deductions from pensions larger than a certain threshold do not necessarily constitute gender and/or age discrimination.

    The Danish Supreme Court recently held that an employer had discharged the reversed burden of proof in a case concerning a physiotherapist who was dismissed shortly after her return from maternity leave.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
Pending Cases

Case C-372/20, Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination

QE – v – Finanzamt Wien für den 8., 16. und 17. Bezirk, reference lodged by the Bundesfinanzgericht (Austria) on 6 August 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination
Pending Cases

C-405/20, Gender Discrimination, Pension

EB and Others – v – Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, Eisenbahnen und Bergbau (BVAEB), reference lodged by the Verwaltungsgerichtshof (Austria) on 28 August 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Gender Discrimination, Pension

    On 13 December 2019 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court held that a national provision that renders a father’s entitlement to parental benefits during a shared period of leave dependent on the mother’s situation, but not vice versa, fell outside the scope of Directive 2006/54/EC (the Equal Treatment Directive) since it did not concern “employment and working conditions” within the meaning of Article 14(1)(c) of that Directive. The action brought by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) was thus dismissed. The Court consequently did not consider whether the Norwegian rules amounted to unlawful discrimination under the Directive. Furthermore, no assessment was made as to the potential breach with the general principle of equality of gender under EEA law, as this had not been pleaded by ESA.


Jonas Thorsdalen Wik
Jonas Thorsdalen Wik is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).

Dag Sørlie Lund
Dag Sørlie Lund is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).
Rulings

ECJ 18 November 2020, Case C-463/19 (Syndicat CFTC), Gender Discrimination

Syndicat CFTC du personnel de la Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie de la Moselle – v – Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie de la Moselle, French case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Gender Discrimination
Abstract

    A national collective agreement may reserve to mothers alone an additional maternity leave, as long as it seeks to protect them from the effects of pregnancy and motherhood.

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